In the late 1950s and early 1960s, it seemed like a future filled with flying cars was inevitable. Automotive designers and engineers weren’t afraid to push the boundaries of design, as evidenced by the gas turbine-powered Chrysler Turbine Car and the nuclear reactor-powered Ford Nucleon (which, thankfully, never progressed beyond a scale model).
Another forward-thinking design, also from the Ford Motor Company, was the Ford Gyron, which used a pair of wheels mounted along the car’s centerline, stabilized by a gyroscope. Unlike the Nucleon, the Gyron actually progressed as far as a full-size model, which relied on outrigger wheels instead of a gyroscope for stability.
Prior to the full-size model being built, Ford’s Advance Studio crafted a few scale models of the Gyron, one of which ended up on the desk of Joe Ortos, designer of the Ford Mustang. Recently offered for sale by Wright Auctions, Hemmings Daily tells us the design study sold for an impressive $40,000, compared to a pre-auction estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.
Though the Gyron never saw production, it did foresee a future where aerodynamics were as important as aesthetics. The full-size version also predicted such modern advances as automated route guidance, car phones and infrared sensing, all the stuff of science fiction back in 1961.
The full-size Gyron was destroyed by a fire in 1962, and the only other scale model of the car (which belonged to designer Alex Tremulis) disappeared some years back. As the only known surviving link to a once-iconic design, we’d call the Gyron design study well-bought, even at four times the pre-auction estimate.